Saturday, October 11, 2014

Coffee, Crows, and Baby Buzzards.

I love to eavesdrop in public because mostly people don’t realize they can be overheard. The most bizarre thing I ever overheard I had to get up and join the conversation it was so totally messed up and weird. A group of high school students were having a party in this huge old house that no one lived in and one of the games they were playing was called “Five Minutes” the guys would draw a guy’s name out of a hat, the girls would draw a girl’s name out of a hat, and the two were put into a closet with no lights in it. No one knew who they were making out with because the girl was led in first then the guy was put in there with her. Five minutes later they found out who they were with.

Because people are evil, some of the students plotted to put a guy and girl in the closet who were siblings. And it worked. The lights go on and the two are caught in an embrace.

I had to get up and ask, really, was anyone shot over this?

So this morning I’m drinking coffee and there’s this small group of people talking about what happened on the way there. Apparently they drove close to some roadkill and nearly hit a vulture. Now, in South Georgia there is this continuing and totally impossible myth that the vulture, or more commonly known as the buzzard, doesn’t have a digestive tract. All their food goes into the stomach through the mouth and the buzzard apparently pukes out the waste material.

I think this originated from the fact that vultures will puke when they’re frightened or angry, as a defense mechanism. Also, there’s a myth that they are bullet proof. I have no idea where this stuff comes from really, but I have heard it all my life. That’s one thing about living in South Georgia; sometimes the ignorance gets plenty loud.

So I’m listening to these people talk about how one of them nearly hit a buzzard and how armadillos are born flat and it’s standard fare for this part of the world. Then suddenly, this very young woman says, “Hey, why is it you never see any baby buzzards?” and the conversation pauses as if everyone wonders the same thing. The answer is that baby vultures, like all birds, are usually pretty big when they leave the nest, they’re actually larger than the adults, in some bird species. Flying will get that baby fat off of you. I’m thinking about saying this to them, I’m about to turn and say this and this young man says, “What about crows?”

Cue sound of record scratching.


“Crows are just baby buzzards, right?”

I’m sitting there trying to digest just how ignorant this statement might be. My first guess is plenty. I’m kind of hoping he’s kidding. But then the young woman says, “Really? I didn’t know that.” And then I have to say something. I mean, really. Then the young man says, “Yeah, crows grow up to be buzzards” but he sounds like he realizes that what he’s saying sounds…stupid.

Thank you Google. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for being who you are and there for us, instantly.

The group decides, miraculously, to invest in research and they all have a good laugh at the baby buzzard theory. One of them, a young man who seems to have a head for this sort of thing, points out the two species of bird have totally different scientific names. Knowledge begins to fight back, just a little, but the group is bored of buzzards. One of them sees a squirrel and they all bound away, conversationally speaking, in another direction.

The amount of disconnect from nature, even being saved from certain death by Google, is frightening in the young found here. Do these people not know crows? How can you not know crows? Crows were a very big part of my mythology when I was a child. How could crows not be? I was a generation away from an agrarian society. The scarecrow, anyone? Old Crow? Crow’s feet? How can these people not know their crows? It’s murder. But they only know what Google has told them.

Yet even discounting the crow ignorance, could there really be a class of human beings who believe there is a common gonophore in creatures as advanced as the vulture? This speaks to a staggering amount of ignorance of basic biology. This speaks to a staggering inability to understand basic bodily functions. Honestly, why don’t they just claim that pixie dust and storks cause babies? It makes as much sense.

It would be nice to think that I happened upon the deep end of ignorance this morning, an exceptional lack of education in South Georgia, and some people who are playing in the shallow end of the gene pool. But the sad truth is that there is a tsunami of outright cluelessness out there that is devouring our young. They may be able to Google the facts but they are totally without a basis of understanding when it comes to the truth.

Take Care,



  1. Agreed, across the board, even. Science, geography, math, and the more noticeable spelling/grammar. Scary because those basics help shape ones common sense. Generally speaking, the quality of basic education seems to have declined since I went to (parochial) school, way back in the seventies.
    Now, get off my lawn! *shake my cane* Damn hooligans...

    1. Scoakat, I think the idea that instant answers equals knowledge is fueling a lot of this. You can go online, buy an essay, and make an 'A'. Or you can just look up crows and buzzards and get some idea they aren't the same animal, but you might not really understand why they aren't. And I still don't care about my damn lawn. Nope!

  2. I don't know how some people are able to live with their ignorance. Do they not wonder? Do they not question? Are they not curious? Don't they crave information they way I do? As a child, I made it my mission to be a know it all. Sure, I got teased and bulied for it, but at the end of the day, I know thibgs; i read, and I learn, and I am able to avoud this kind of embarassment. How are people ok with being ignorant?! In my days (I'm not that old, but old enough) we had to boot up the computer on dad's desk and wait 5 minutes before I could open Internet Explorer to google up information; but I did it every time I had a burning question on my mind. Even if it slips my mind while I wait for the computer boots up; I googled up anything I could think of because not knowing drove me insane. Kids these days are so caught up in selfies and facebook and whatever else that they do that they forgwt that the internet is not just a tool for them to perpetuate their vanity so the bitch who stole her crush can get mad jelly because your selfies look better; you can also learn about anything and everything that you ever questioned in your entire life! Why are pwople these days so damned stupid?! WHY?

    1. Izzy, I think people like being comfortable. They like being able just to sit and watch some show on television that celebrates stupid people and that makes the viewers seem so much more intelligent, even if they are paying to watch this stuff. There seems to be an attitude that all that needs to be learned has been learned. And as long as someone else is doing the learning, that's just plain ok.

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    1. Enter "Common Core" where the answers seem to come from a Rod Serling hangover after a three day bender. Please excuse the indictment, Mr. Serling, I understand you were better than that, but your imagination was available at the time. So, I use you. Common Core negates the need for fiction. This foundational shift from using one's imagination to hard core reality edges into the realm of literary abuse by eliminating it. It also separates the generational experience of the parent to child when dealing with math. Math majored engineers have a hard time understanding the need to engage in seemingly free form attitudes when working with the four sacred functions. Common Core's "logic" wildly swerves from the definition. By serving to separate further the tie between the child and the parent Common Core provides the connection as a bridge by the state run school curriculum and its arbiters to your kitchen table and a crying 8 year old struggling to get through tomorrow's assignment.

      So, you want to see buzzards? Go to Texas where on any given blue sky day you will see them circling the sky above you...watching...watching...did you just trip? No? Watching...watching. Now, that's not Common Core. That's reality and it certainly better prepares your child for life.

      "Son, look up."
      "Why dad?"
      "That's a buzzard. If you are hurt and in trouble they might come down for a visit."
      "Why, dad?"
      "They are always hungry. See that black bird over there?"
      "That's a crow. You know what he does?"
      "He's the lookout for the buzzard circling above your head. Now, pay attention! You don't want there to be one less of you."

      In this little discourse between father and son the father has imparted a real-world wisdom to his son. The boy is now better prepared for the life ahead of him by recognizing a potential threat to his safety and to be wary of both crows and buzzards without the benefit of school or Google on a smart phone.
      Common Core...pfft.

    2. I like that version of the story a lot better than Google's.